Archive for Jay Bybee

Torture memo author Jay Bybee accepted more than $3.2 million in free legal services


You all remember Jay Bybee don't you? He was "the former head of the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) who signed two infamous August 2002 legal memos which gave CIA interrogators the green light to torture 'war on terror' prisoners," then admitted that some techniques were not approved by the DoJ.

Who better than a pro-torture Bushie lawyer-turned-judge to receive millions of dollars of free legal help in squirming out of ethics issues? L.A. Times:

U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jay S. Bybee accepted more than $3.2 million in free legal services from a Los Angeles-based firm to fight allegations of ethics violations for providing the Bush administration legal justification to use harsh interrogation tactics that critics called torture, his financial disclosure reports reveal.

In his latest report to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Bybee reported gifts from the Latham & Watkins firm that bring the total of its free legal assistance to the judge to $3,251,893 since 2007. [...]

Bybee did not respond to an emailed question about whether and for how long he considers it necessary to withdraw from any cases involving Latham attorneys to avoid any appearance of potential bias.

Isn't that just like the guy?

Think Progress also posted about this.


Author of Torture Memos Admits Some Techniques Not Approved By DOJ


Jay Bybee. (Photo: U.S. Government)

Crack investigative reporter and dear friend Jason Leopold is breaking some news today. As always, he has graciously permitted me to share the post with you. However, I'll only share part of it. Please go here to read the whole thing:

Jay Bybee, the former head of the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) who signed two infamous August 2002 legal memos which gave CIA interrogators the green light to torture "war on terror" prisoners, told a congressional committee that more than a half-dozen of the tactics detainees were subjected to were not "authorized" by the DOJ.

In a closed-door interview May 26 with members of the House Judiciary Committee, Bybee, now a Ninth Circuit Appeals Court judge, said OLC did not approve of the use of diapering, water dousing, forcing a detainee to defecate on himself or wear blackout goggles, extended solitary confinement or isolation, hanging a detainee from ceiling hooks, daily beatings, or the use of loud music or noise.

In an investigative report published by Truthout on April 17, intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said Abu Zubaydah, the first high-value detainee captured after 9/11, was subjected to repeated sessions of "water dousing," a method that, at the time interrogators used it on Zubaydah, was described as spraying him with extremely cold water from a hose while he was naked and shackled by chains attached to a ceiling in the cell he was kept in at a black-site prison.

The OLC did not approve the use of water dousing as an interrogation technique until August 2004. Use of the method is believed to have played a part in the November 2002 death of Gul Rahman, a detainee who was held at an Afghanistan prison known as The Salt Pit and died of hypothermia hours after being doused with water and left in a cold prison cell. [...]

According to declassified documents, published reports and interviews conducted by human rights organizations with prisoners over the past eight years, the CIA used the unauthorized torture tactics repeatedly on detainees in the custody of the agency. The unauthorized methods and the final 10 techniques Bybee said detainees could legally be subjected to amount to a violation of the Geneva Conventions and federal anti-torture laws.

Despite the fact that the memos have been condemned by Republicans, Democrats and several Bush administration officials and were withdrawn by Bybee's successor, Jack Goldsmith, Bybee still defended his work and said his critics have either "misread" or misinterpreted his legal analysis on presidential power. [...]

Bybee, whose responses to questions appears to be an attempt to absolve himself of culpability, told Judiciary Committee members that interrogators who employed techniques that deviated from the guidelines contained in the torture memos he signed acted without the approval of OLC. [...]

Moreover, Bybee said the memos prohibited the "substantial repetition" of torture techniques, such as waterboarding, which suggests its repeated use was part of a human experimentation program.

Justice Department documents and a report released by the CIA's Inspector General state that two high-value detainees, Zubaydah and self-professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, were waterboarded 83 times and 183 times in the course of a single month.

Last month, the international doctors' organization Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) released a report that said about 25 high-value detainees were used as human "guinea pigs" to gauge the effectiveness of various torture techniques. For example, PHR said waterboarding was monitored in early 2002 by CIA medical personnel, who collected data about how detainees responded to the torture technique. The data was then used in a 2005 torture memo advising CIA interrogators how to administer the technique. [...]

Rep. Nadler said Yoo's "close relationship" with the Bush White House "warrants further investigation."

Believe it or not, that's just the bare bones of Jason's very thorough piece. Please go here to read the rest.


All my previous posts on this subject matter can be found ; That link includes one specific to only Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you are inclined to help rectify these injustices: Twitterers, use the hashtag #FreeFayiz. We have organized a team to get these stories out. If you are interested in helping Fayiz out, e-mail me at The Political Carnival, address in sidebar to the right; or tweet me at @GottaLaff.

If you’d like to see other ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at